Accounting Office

Petty Cash Fund Policy

The Finance & Accounting Office is responsible for overseeing the administration of all petty cash funds throughout the University.

All Petty Cash funds are to be returned to the University Cashier by the end of the fiscal year (May 31st).  New petty cash funds may be requested after the start of the next fiscal year (June 1st).


The Petty Cash Fund Policy has been created to provide guidelines for the appropriate establishment, use, and accountability of such funds.  Procedures have been established to encourage effective administration and internal control of cash handling operations.


Petty cash funds are established to enable departments to make small purchases for supplies and sundry expenses.  Petty cash funds may also be used as change funds for departments that collect cash receipts on behalf of the University and require change to appropriately complete the cash transactions.  The amount of the petty cash fund is established at the time the fund is approved.  All expenditures must follow all Willamette University policies and procedures.  Petty cash funds may not be used to circumvent current purchasing procedures.


All petty cash funds will operate as Imprest funds.  Imprest is a fund that is always equal to the sum of the cash on hand plus un-reimbursed expenditures.  Petty cash funds should be balanced frequently.

Petty cash funds may be used as follows:

  • Purchase is $100 or less.
  • Purchase is of a good (payments for services are not permitted).
  • Item is not readily available from University sources.
  • Purchase or payment by other University means, such as a purchase order or Purchasing Card, is not an option.
  • Purchase complies with all applicable University policies and procedures.
  • Purchase is properly documented and includes an explanation of the business purpose. 

Petty cash funds may not be used for:

  • Personal expenditures or loans
  • Personal check cashing
  • Purchasing services
  • Gifts/Gift Certificates
  • Supplies for personal events such as birthdays, baby/bridal showers, going away parties, and the like.

Establishing a Petty Cash Fund

Departments requesting a Petty Cash Fund will need to complete a Petty Cash Fund Request Form.  Once the request is approved, the University Cashier will disburse the petty cash to the delegated custodian of the fund.

Custodian Responsibility

Each petty cash fund established is specifically assigned to one individual who is designated as the fund custodian.  The custodian should have exclusive access to and control of the fund. 

As part of those duties, it is the custodian's responsibility to:

  • Safeguard petty cash funds by storing them in a secured, locked location.  Petty cash funds should never be commingled with personal or other University funds.
  • Keep accurate records of the fund.  Each expenditure should be documented appropriately and follow University policies and procedures.
  • Reconcile petty cash fund frequently.
  • Return all petty cash funds to the University Cashier by May 31st.